The Spirit of British Columbia. (File)

BC Ferries converts ‘Spirit of British Columbia’ to LNG

The vessel is back in operation following its refit in Poland, converted to operate on liquified natural gas

One of BC Ferries’ two largest vessels returns to service on the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay route, following a conversion to make the ship run on liquefied natural gas.

The Spirit of British Columbia will be back, making the run between the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria, as of tomorrow (June 6), starting out of Tsawwassen at 7 a.m. and ending the day at 9 p.m. from Swartz Bay. Its sister ship the Spirit of Vancouver Island, which also makes the same journey, will go through its own conversion to natural gas later this fall and will return to service in 2019.

The two ferries are the first vessels in the BC Ferries fleet to undergo a conversion from marine diesel fuel to LNG. The newer, Salish Class ships introduced last year were purpose-built to run on natural gas.

RELATED: LNG ferry refits to be done in Poland.

Deborah Marshall, BC Ferries media spokesperson, says the Spirit class vessels will run on both LNG and diesel, with the intent to operate on gas most of the time. The Spirit of British Columbia started its refit last September after sailing to Poland, where the work was done.

Marshall added its conversion comes with a few other upgrades. The vessel has improved its passenger amenities — including a new coffee bar on the upper passenger deck and doubling the size of their gift shop. She added charging stations have been added as well, since the vessel was originally put in service in the 1990s — when there was less call for them.

The newly-converted ferry has been back in B.C. waters for about a month, she continued, as crews were trained on the new systems, safety procedures and operations. Fuelling of the ship will take place via FortisBC. Like their conventional vessels, Marshall said they will be fuelled at night. These are the first passenger vessels of their kind to be fuelled on an open vehicle deck, she added. SeaSpan runs a freight vessel that is fuelled by an LGN truck the same way.

It’s being done this way, Marshall explained, because building bunkering facilities at their terminals — or using an LNG fuelling vessel — is cost-prohibitive.

The conversion to LNG is expected to save BC Ferries millions in fuel costs. Marshall said LNG is 40 to 50 per cent cheaper than marine diesel fuel. Still, she said the majority of their fleet runs on diesel.

RELATED: BC Ferries freezes plans to nix fuel rebates.

Using LNG is also expected to reduce emissions from the converted vessels. Marshall said early emissions testing looks good and BC Ferries anticipates, once the Spirit of Vancouver Island is converted, to reduce CO2 emissions by 12,500 tonnes — or the equivalent of 2,500 vehicles on the road.

RELATED: Have your say about the new Swartz Bay ferry terminal.

Once the Spirit of Vancouver Island has completed its refit this fall, Marshall said five of the fleet’s 36 vessels will run on a dual fuel system. In the meantime, they are also investing in hybrid battery-diesel engines in new, 47-vehicle ferries expected to be constructed by 2020.



editor@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sointula elementary school gets funding for new playground

Funding for the new playground comes from the provincial government’s Playground Equipment Program.

Facey nominated as BC Liberal candidate for the North Island riding

Liberal candidate Norm Facey has a background in forestry and manufacturing.

Some north Island forest service roads to get a minor facelift with COVID-19 recovery funding

Side Bay access road no longer ‘up in the bureaucratic air’ thanks to temporary budget increase

Port Hardy’s top cop says goodbye, last day will be Oct. 30

‘I want to pause, reflect, and give thanks for my experiences and time given here’

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

Most Read